Monday, May 9, 2016

First time

I got a call from Kris.

"We're putting the heifers out on pasture for the first time.  Could you stand in the back corner and try and keep them from running through the fence?"

Putting heifers out on pasture for the first time for the year is a little different than putting them out on pasture for the first time EVER.  First of all, they've never seen an electric fence.  Second, they've never had such a giant area in which to run.  Third, they run as fast as they can toward the fences.

Kris picked Max and me up.  In between calling me and getting me, Kris had discovered that a heifer had gotten excited and gotten out.  She wasn't one of the ones we were moving though - she was at the barn!  

Josh and Mike were taking heifers from the barn on trailers and letting them off into the field.  Kris opened a gate and I said I'd chase her into the pasture.  I started off running and Kris joked, "Put all that training to work!" 

I got behind her and she moved easily into the next pasture.

All I had to do was chase her straight up the fence into the next pasture.  Josh and Mike left, and Kris drove ahead to open the gate.  As soon as they left, she and I moved ahead and ... she got a running start and ran right through the fence again.

I moved her into the corner, hoping she wouldn't run into the road.  She didn't.  She turned around and stood and stared at me.  I stood and stared at her.  

We were at a standstill.  Alone, I couldn't open two gates next to the road to get her to where she was supposed to be.  I didn't want to chase her through a fence, since I didn't WANT her to run through fences.  

So we waited.  For ten minutes, she and I stared at each other.  I talked to her a little, telling her I was just trying to get her back with the herd.  I knew Kris or one of the guys would come back eventually.
They all came back at the same time and we moved her into the pasture again.  Then we repeated the freeing of the heifers, the nerve wracking feeling of watching them run toward the fence ... surrounded by open fields ... and hoping they stayed in.  The wayward heifer slowly blended in with the others.

I helped with a few loads until my boys were getting home from school.  We checked again right before dark ... they were all still there! 

I hope they're all still there in the morning ... or it'll be a different kind of training run.



Ryan Bright is a dairy farmer in Tennessee, where he milks about 90 cows.  They raise corn, hay, and wheat.  He is also an author!  He interviewed me about my books Every Other Twin Book is Wrong, Where the Filed Things Are, and Sawyer in the Woods on his blog, Farmer Bright.  

You can read it on his site here.


Want to know more about the farm?  Like the page on Facebook, on Twitter @carlashelley, or sign up to get the blog by email - the form is on the right side of the page.

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